B

inyamin was peeling onions. Mimi looked at him and gaped.

Not that he noticed, busy with his peeling skins, chopping, swatting at his streaming eyes. Until he looked up and smiled. “Come over here and help me.” He waved his knife at Mimi. “Javier had to leave suddenly. I figured I’d finish what he was in the middle of doing... I need to get back to kollel, really.”

Mimi took Binyamin’s apron, promised him she knew how to do the onions at least as well as he did, and shooed him off.

From behind her, Mimi could hear Mommy soothing Darrell, ever graceful. Yuki the sushi guy was saying something urgent that nobody understood. Whenever there was a lull, Shana threw in fretful ruminations about life with teenage daughters, the cost of just the right accessory for each Shabbos outfit, and all that. Manuel’s onion rings hissed, pots full of steaming, heavenly things bubbled, the richness of baking bread wafted lazily in the hot kitchen.

Mimi closed her eyes.

She loved this, all of this, too much.

She had so many ideas, so much passion — and she was going to funnel it all into a random project that meant nothing to anybody. What was the good of talent and creativity if she couldn’t use it for what she loved — for family, for Zoberman’s?

Ouch. She opened her eyes to find her finger bleeding. Genius.

She put the knife down and pressed a napkin against the wound.

She stopped the train of thought: Don’t go there. She had wanted to actualize her vision here, to sprinkle some of her own dreams into this place. But where had that taken her? Straight into Kaylie’s fangs... um, hair. Um, sheitel.

“You look spiffy, the apron is very becoming,” Shana called to her from across the kitchen.

Mimi laughed. Binyamin had foisted this on her. He was like that, blessed soul that he was. Enough thought — he just grabbed an apron and tried helping out, however he could. Slicing onions wasn’t very glamorous, but apparently he didn’t care.

There had to be a way she could do her thing. No, she didn’t want to go back to being manager. No more of the “I run this place” approach. But maybe something else. Kaylie would have to agree, of course, but maybe she could be… um, creative associate? Or something.

And it could work, couldn’t it? She would brainstorm, improvise, create something exciting for Zoberman’s, make it a center for friends and family and community.

That was what Zoberman’s always epitomized; it would be a cozy business niche that fit just right.

She undid the apron and tossed it to Shana.

“Your turn,” she said lightly, and slipped out of the kitchen. She would go talk to Daddy.

Her palms felt clammy, but she ignored it. She could talk to Daddy.

Creative associate. She liked the sound of it. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 602)